March 21, 2012
Houston - Rice University student-athlete Becky Wade has been awarded one of only 39 nation-wide Thomas J. Watson Fellowships for 2012-13 as announced by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship offers college graduates of "unusual promise" a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel - in international settings new to them - to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community. Wade will receive a $25,000 stipend for the fellowship year.
Wade, from Dallas, Texas, and a product of Ursuline Academy, will spend her Watson Fellowship year traveling to the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Japan, New Zealand, and Finland exploring the running culture of each country.
"Track and field is the most global of all sports," says Wade. "It transcends national, demographic and socio-economic boundaries and attracts representatives from more countries to its major competitions than any other sport. My objective is to construct an encompassing and comparative view of these diverse environments as I investigate the role of running on individual, societal and global scales."
Having won numerous Conference USA individual titles, Wade is a three-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-America for Rice. She earned her first All-America status in 2009, when she placed 11th in the 10,000-meter run at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. At the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championship, Wade finished 23rd to earn her second All-America accolade and most recently she ran 13th in the 5000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championship to earn second team All-America status. Wade is also Rice's record holder for the indoor 5000-meter run (16:03.13).
She will graduate from Rice in May with a triple major in history, psychology and sociology with a 4.0 grade point average. As a sociology research assistant at Rice and the University of Texas, Becky has submitted two papers for publication. She serves as a student ambassador and tutor and volunteers in the Houston community.
"This is one of the most outstanding and highest achievements that we have ever had in the history of our program," says Jim Bevan, Rice's women's track and field head coach. "Becky is such an outstanding example of excellence in academics, leadership, community service and athletics. She is a rare person, but she also shows that you can excel in all areas at Rice. She makes all of us proud."
Rice's only other student-athlete to be awarded a Watson Fellowship was volleyball player, Tamara Trownsell in 1994. Today, Trownsell is a Ph.D. candidate in international relations at American University and teaches at the School of International Studies at the Universidad del Azuay, a private university in Cuenca, Ecuador.
The Thomas J. Watson Foundation was created in 1961 as a charitable trust by Mrs. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., in honor of her late husband, the founder of International Business Machines Corp., widely known as IBM. The Foundation initially used its resources in support of a variety of programs. In 1968, in recognition of Mr. and Mrs. Watson's long-standing interest in education and world affairs, their children - Mrs. Helen W. Buckner, Mrs. John N. Irwin II, Mr. Arthur K. Watson, and Mr. Thomas J. Watson, Jr. - decided that the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program should constitute a major activity of the Foundation. Since that date, the Fellowship Program has granted more than 2,300 Watson Fellowship awards, with stipends totaling more than $29 million.